Jayhawks Add Multi-Sport Star Sylvia Bullock to Roster
June 12, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A vital member of the top-10 Miami women’s basketball team over the last four years, graduate school transfer Sylvia Bullock will switch up her skill set to join the Kansas volleyball team for the 2012 season.
Bullock led the Canes to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, starting all 55 games in the last two years. During her career at Miami, she started 91 games, racked up 465 career points matched by 484 career rebounds. Bullock spent all four years under the direction of head coach Katie Meier, who was named the 2011 Associated Press co-National Coach of the Year and, most recently, has been selected to serve as head coach for the 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team.
Most impressively for her volleyball peers were Bullock’s 120 career blocks, including a team-best 41 rejections in her senior campaign. In 2011-12, Bullock checked in at fifth in the ACC with 1.4 blocks per game.
“She has some catching up to do as far as experience goes, but Syl’s a great athlete with a great work ethic,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “She will fill a need we have for depth at the outside hitter position. There’s a trend that people are completing their degree and then have the ability to transfer and be eligible right away, but many of them are still competing in the same sport. It’s rare that you see someone complete eligibility in one sport and then move to another – even though our own Allison Mayfield (volleyball/track) did that here. Now we’ve got a basketball-to-volleyball athlete coming in.”
With Bullock serving as a team captain, Miami spent the entire 2012 season ranked in the nation’s top-25, and climbed to No. 8 in the AP poll by season’s end, the highest ranking in the program’s history. Miami earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament before Bullock and the Canes ended the season with a loss to second-round host Georgetown.
Bullock, who was named the team’s Most Improved Player at the conclusion of her senior year at Miami, now refers to basketball as her first language. The transition from her primary sport to volleyball presents a challenge that she’s ready to get to work on. Bullock is already putting in work doing individual drills on her own, taking advantage of open gym hours.
“Switching over to volleyball is tough right now only because I feel behind,” Bullock said. “With basketball I can take direction and say `Oh, I’m supposed to do this? Ok!’ With volleyball, I know my athleticism is there but there are some technical skills that I still need to work on still. I’ll be fine; it’ll just take a little patience.”
Not only will Bullock be adjusting to a new sport, her transfer also marks her first trip to Kansas. An Anchorage, Alaska native, Bullock admitted to more changes ahead.
“Kansas is a mixture of where I’m from in Alaska and where I came from in Miami,” Bullock said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been here so it’s a little different, outside it’s already hot and I hear you guys have winters, too. I don’t really have winter clothes anymore so I’ll have to go get some.”
Now in graduate school, Bullock laughed and explained that the transfer gives her glimpses of feeling like a freshman again. It’s hardly the case, however, as Bullock earned her undergraduate degree in English and came to Kansas to pursue her Masters in the same subject. When her playing days are over, Bullock is readying herself for her career goal of becoming a teacher and a coach – a task made easier for a student-athlete with a multitude of skills.
“I played basketball, softball, cheerleading, track and cross country while I was in high school,” Bullock explained. “Plus, I was a dance minor, so I just love to do everything. Volleyball is really fun and I saw an opportunity to play again so I took it.”
Kansas, who finished the 2011 season at 15-14 for KU’s third-straight winning season, will kick off the 2012 campaign Aug. 24-25 at the Arkansas Tournament.